When you hear the phrase "getting healthy" what comes to mind? Chances are your brain jumps first to images of people exercising, followed immediately by images of fruits and vegetables. Getting more fruit and vegetables into your diet is one of the most important things you can do to get healthy. Busy people are always trying to find new ways to get more fruit into their diets and juice has been touted as a great way to do just that for years. Combine that with the need to get juice on the go and you have tons of people reaching for sweet fruit juices like the Naked Juice line.
Naked Juice certainly sounds like a great way to get your daily servings of fruit. They've got all the right flavours: Pomegranate Acai, Mighty Mango and Green Machine are only a couple examples. They've also got all the right buzzwords associated with their brand: sustainability, fresh, power, green. It's brilliant marketing that's allowed them to corner the real fruit juice market, but is Naked Juice really good for you?
Unfortunately the hype surrounding Naked Juice is just that: hype. Naked Juice certainly is delicious, but drinking it daily isn't going to drastically improve your health.
It turns out Naked Juice and Mountain Dew have more in common than just being delicious: they both contain 60 grams of sugar per bottle. And in both cases almost all of this sugar is fructose.
It might be true that the fructose in Naked Juice comes from the real fruit used to make it whereas Mountain Dew gets its fructose from High Fructose Corn Syrup, but this doesn't make a big difference to your body. High fructose levels in your system can lead to cardiovascular disease, liver disease, cancer, arthritis and even gout.
Unlike other sugars, fructose goes straight to your liver when it is digested. In your liver the fructose is transformed into three different fatty acids as well as triglycerides, which get stored as fat. This means that for every 120 calories of fructose your body stores 40 calories of fat, whereas your body stores less than one calorie of fat for every 120 calories of glucose you consume.
Your body is designed to easily digest the fructose found in an actual whole fruit, but 60 grams is simply too much in one sitting, especially if you're drinking one or more every day.
Naked Juice actually doesn't add any sugar to their juices but it doesn't really matter. The fruits they use are so high in sugar that adding more would make the juice completely undrinkable.
The biggest issue with juicing, no matter what fruit you're using, is that you lose all of the fiber in the process. The fiber in fruit is what makes it possible for your body to absorb the large amounts of sugar contained in the fruit. It helps regulate the digestive system for better absorption and also fills up your stomach so you don't over eat.
Let's use orange juice as an example. It takes 3-4 oranges to make one full glass of orange juice. This means every glass contains the fructose from at least three oranges. So you're consuming all of that sugar without any of the fiber from those oranges.
On the other hand, if you decide to eat those same three oranges, you'll have enough fiber to regulate the temporary sugar increase in your system. The sugar will also be easier to digest because you'll be digesting it over a longer period of time. And you'll probably stop being hungry before you even get through the entire orange.
This means it's always better to eat the whole fruit than to simply have the juice, no matter how delicious that juice might be.
We know what you're thinking: it's made with real fruit and it has vitamins, doesn't it?
Not necessarily. Like 99% of other juice brands Naked has to put their products through a number of different processes including processes of pasteurization and irradiation. Each one of these processes has its own impact on the nutritional value of the fruit, ranging from mild to significant.
By the time the fruit gets into Naked Juice it's no longer really what it was. It is now a processed food like any other.
The Naked Juice marketing people might say their juice is full of vitamins and minerals, but who knows what the quality is?
What we do know is that your body reacts the same way to a bottle of Naked Juice as it does to a bottle of sugar water or Mountain Dew. The only reason it might be better for you is because it has fewer chemicals, but even that isn't necessarily true. We have no idea what chemicals are used to transform fruit into Naked Juice or to give it a longer shelf life.
Naked Juice faced a class action lawsuit in 2013 for falsely claiming to use "All Natural" products. Somebody had determined that several of their ingredients were actually GMOs or even synthetic ingredients. This led to a lawsuit highlighting the following issues:
- Labeling their products as "Non-GMO" when they knowingly used GMO ingredients in their products
- False labeling claiming "100% fruit juice" or "All Natural" when products contained synthetic ingredients such as the following:
- Fibersol-2 - a proprietary synthetic digestion-resistant fiber produced by Archer Daniels Midland and developed by a Japanese chemical company.
- Fructooligosaccharides - a synthetic fiber and sweetener.
- Inulin - an artificial and invisible fiber added to foods to artificially increase fiber content with the typical fiber mouth-feel.
- Intentionally misleading its customers
The lawsuit ended up in a $9 million dollar settlement paid by parent company Pepsi Co. Yes, that's right, Naked Juice is made by Pepsi—does it still sound healthy to you?